I don't have all the answers, but a comment my sister made the other day about her first trip back to the gym after many years away checked off a box in my brain. I've got some answers, and I definitely have reassurance.
You see, I never thought I would be a "gym person". But after years of going now (years! yay me!!), I can say with pride and satisfaction that I most definitely LOVE going to the gym. I feel comfortable there, and I know what I'm doing now. Hell, even when I don't precisely know what I'm doing, I pull it off with aplomb and grace and only fall over once or twice. HA!
Anyhoo, here are some "reassurances" for any of you out there reading this who might want to try a gym, but are feeling a smidge discomfort
2) You don't need to have some sort of fancy routine. I LOVE Pinterest for good workout routines, and there are a couple of sites I rely on heavily. Maybe I'll do a separate post for those, if anyone is interested. Look at the pictures on the sides of the weight machines. They show you how to use the machine. Do some bicep curls. Everybody should know how to do those! Google "simple weightlifting moves" or something. Print it out, Pin it, and bring it with you. I've seen a guy with a big binder full of notes and routines printed out. That's a little crazy, but it's also totally fine! My one recommendation is to have everything in the same place and easy to access. There is this one young lady I see quite often and she has to scroll through dozens (and dozens) of photos to find the exercise she wants, so she ends up spending more time on her damn phone then anything (it's a plank dammit! you don't need a diagram!)
This one is from "POPSUGAR Fitness" and aside from some of the terrible titles on these printables, they are actually pretty amazing. Sorry for the shitty screen shot...just, go to their damn website. Or better yet, search for them on Pinterest!
3) You don't need to lift anything heavy. Start with a low weight, and a low set of reps, and don't be embarrassed about it! Everyone has to start somewhere, and starting slow (and safe) counts more than not starting at all! And you don't want to injure yourself...that's the most important thing.
4) If you don't know what you're doing, or how a certain machine works, ask somebody for help. Gym people are generally nice people! The trainers and staff are there to help you. And if they're bitchy bitches *cough*SpaLady*cough* then get yourself to another gym!! I hear that the Meadows (that's the new Rec Centre in Mill Woods) has like a "Gym Guy" that just walks around and helps people out! That's fucking awesome!! Use the "Gym Guy"!
5) You should probably break a sweat...just sayin... There's this one lady I see at the gym all the time, and she bikes slower than my grandma. And then she gets on the machines, and it doesn't seem like she is making an effort at all. She kind of just floats around. She's hilarious, and I love her, but this seems like a waste of an hour!
6) You can spend as little amount of time in there as you want/need/are able. I go during my lunch "hour". It takes me a couple minutes to drive there, then park, then get suited up. And I like to shower when I'm done (see point 4...I definitely break a sweat. I break all the sweats.), which takes another 5 minutes (I timed myself this one time). And then I have to drive back to the office. Overall, I get about 40 minutes of actual workout time. This includes warm up and stretching afterwards. When I was going to Spa Lady at the end of the day, I got maybe 20 minutes on the cardio machines and then they had to close. And you know what, that was better than nothing. On the weekends, when I have a little extra time, I like to go for an hour or more. And I love that extra time there, and I make the most of it. But I make the most of my 30-40 minute workouts too. It all counts!
7) There will be people there that are stronger than you! Or leaner. Or faster. Or whatever. And they might be intimidating. Just focus on YOUR workout, because they're just focused on theirs. Trust me.
Everyone has to start somewhere.
Now, if you'll excuse me, it's lunch time and I'm off to the gym.